Monday, October 23, 2017

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival 2017: A Marketing Perspective

So we attended the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival in Gaithersburg, MD yesterday. You can still head up there today (October 23, 2017) if you're available and have interest.

Probably my favorite thing about these types of events is actually talking to the artists. Like the one in the cover photo, who was selling mezuzot made of her mother's lace, rescued from the Holocaust.


I had the good fortune to meet Tracy Levesque, a self-taught artist whose work is simply stunning (see photos above and below).


What I appreciated about Tracy was that she made the effort to produce items an average person could buy, like the coasters, which were 4 for $35. As she helpfully explained, you could put them on the wall if you think they're too nice for drinks. Here's a link to her Etsy store. Based on quality alone, I love this art but the populist element adds to its appeal.

Someone was selling salad bowls and I stopped at the exhibit not only because they were beautiful, but also because there was a video running in front of them. I can't even recall what the video was about, only that the bowls were in them, and it was pretty cool. So that is a marketing tactic that worked, because here I am telling you about them.

A number of beautiful fashion exhibits were on display at the festival and I especially liked this dress. The problem however was that it -- like most of the items -- were priced beyond the reach of the average person. (Many of the prices ran into the hundreds of dollars.) 

The price of the food was exorbitant as well -- $5 for a single cup of strawberry lemonade, $10 for a plate of sliced potato fries.

From where I sit, if you're holding a community festival you should be sure that all the vendors are offering a reasonably priced set of alternatives to their higher-priced items. It didn't look to me like the crowd was buying such expensive stuff, anyway.

On the subject of money -- let's talk for a second about the entry fee. Especially considering the high prices that vendors were charging for their products, it seems they could have eliminated the minimal $8 (online)/$10 (in person) ticket cost and had the vendors make it up from their revenue.

The setting of the fair was the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. There were many references to animals and 4-H (even painted on the side of one building), but no explanation or integration into the fair. More than once I found myself staring at creepy-looking animal statues and empty horse stalls, wondering exactly what this place was and what had gone on there. Some effort to provide explanatory information for this implicit knowledge base would have been helpful, instead of off-putting.

Regarding artists marketing themselves:  Certainly a giveaway stack of postcards would have been great. But these were nowhere to be found. Additionally, On top of this, several exhibitors were visibly upset when we took photos of their beautiful work. Instead of saying: "excuse me!" or "ask permission!" they might have realized that such photos could lead directly to sales.

If you are an artist, encourage people to take a ton of photos, pose with prospective customers, give them your hashtag, and offer a reward for the best photos posted to Instagram!

Similarly, if prospective customers come up to talk to you, don't just stand their woodenly and answer their questions with a single word. You're at a fair -- you're there to be human!

Make the customer your partner in marketing. OBVIOUSLY.

Work with the flow of the river, never against it if you can.

The idea of the artist as an elite reclusive genius is old. And it doesn't apply to 99.99% of the people exhibiting at craft fairs.

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Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photos by the author.

Consider The Brand Environment Before Adding A Logo




The brand environment is often overlooked because  designer and client alike are focused on graphic material and message solely. 

The result, here: An otherwise good logo, for Feed the Children, is buried amid unnecessary so-branding, and it competes with the Metro logo. 

Bottom line: Keep it simple & bold - cut something out.  

Posted October 23, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. Photo by the author. All opinions are the author’s own.  All rights reserved. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Personal Branding Will Focus Your Resume

Long story short I wound up taking a freelance job to rewrite someone's resume.

This is something I have not been paid to do in the past, and I priced the job much too low for the time and effort it took. Probably, all told, 10-15 hours.

Here are some of the lessons learned along the way for me. Whether you hire a resume writer or not, they are some practical tips to keep in mind.
  • The first step is to focus on the practical realities of the job you want to get. For example, do you need to stay in a certain geographic area? Are you wedded to the profession for which you trained? Is there a salary requirement? These are the parameters that will form the outline of the document. The recruiter should know immediately that you want to work within this box.
  • The second step is to figure out your Myers-Briggs type. It's important to do this because no matter what job you get, if it's out of sync with the way you function happily at work, you will be miserable even if the compensation is high. Just to illustrate, if you're a "people person" you should never take a job that requires lots of reports and compliance activities, unless you have a staff and are prepared to manage them well. The Myers-Briggs assessment can be done on your own, or in conjunction with a tool such as the excellent and free 16personalities.com.
  • The third step is to write a short profile that describes who you are and what you're looking for. You can think of this as your personal branding statement if you want, but it's really just a simple, plain old synopsis that describes you to a "T." You should look at these bullet points, or short paragraph, and say, "Yes, that is me, exactly."
  • The fourth step is to gather all possible documentation that can support a strong resume. Documentation means job descriptions, awards, relevant volunteer experience, performance appraisals, recommendations, and so on. Even some notes about your weaknesses is helpful. If it provides a valid picture into who you are, then it helps.
  • The fifth step is to put all the pieces together into a short, finished document. I used a low-cost tool called MyPerfectResume.com, which walks you through the details of the resume, lets you add profession-appropriate text blocks to the work experience areas, and even offers many clean and eye-catching professional templates for the design.
So what took so long, and why should you hire a resume writer if you can do all this yourself?

The answer is, like everything else, the human factor cannot be automated. Just like there is no automatic formula for setting two people up on a date, there is also no computer that can take your professional experience and automatically spit out a resume that perfectly characterizes your unique value-add.

From a branding perspective, the capacity to assess your personal qualities as versus the worth you bring to the marketplace is invaluable. Having that third party present in some way to walk you through what went wrong and what went well over the course of your career can be the "missing ingredient."

The job of the third party is to work with you, keeping the big picture in mind and staying logical. They should help you come up with what is essentially a personal branding statement that clarifies and cuts through the complexity that is your life. Instead of feeling like a victim of circumstance, you are empowered to reinvent yourself with every job, extracting only that portion which adds value and possibility to your future.

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All opinions are the author's own. Photo by FotografieLink via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).

Friday, October 20, 2017

Brand Management = Pret (Filed Under: Internal Branding)



Why is Pret a winning brand? Managers like this. 


I have watched her give a rousing, morale-boosting, sometimes chastising morning pep talk on several occasions. Today the staff actually CHEERED. 


She tells them about the new dishes coming in. 


She reminds them about safety. 


She introduces senior leadership. 


She rolls her sleeves up. 


She cares. 


She is deeply, deeply engaged in her job. 


I can tell all this from a mile away, and it gives me even more confidence and trust about the food they sell. 


On the wall there are posters about their obsession with keeping avocados fresh and cutting vegetables properly. 


The signs are matched with their passion for great management. 


When you want to know why management is the basis of branding — watch a company like this in action.


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Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. Photo by Dr. Blumenthal.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Updated With ***50% Off Promo Code** 10/24/17 --> Let's Talk About That Coach Bag I Left At ThredUp*


I left this stunning bag because I simply ran out of money to buy things. You can still get it.

I also left all this stuff.




All this for less than the price of a decent shirt at a fine firsthand retail establishment.

I am wearing a blouse from ThredUp now. I feel good knowing that my clothes are better than usual, and they didn't break the bank.

If you have the brains to shop secondhand, ThredUp has unbelievable stuff. And they package it beautifully.

Use my link to get started and you will get 10% off. Search online for promo codes and you may get a deep discount off your first order as well.

UPDATE 10/24/17 

Promo Code
  • Use the code DOCDANNIELLE at checkout
  • 50% off all first-time orders up to $50
  • Code is good till the end of November 2017
Direct links to handbags, blouses, belts:

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*Sponsored post. Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Free Photos


A collection of sites offering free photos. Gathered primarily from:
I tried to scrub the list as best I could, but this may contain some errors. Feel free to mix and match with your own.
  1. Air Force
  2. America's Historical Documents - Images and Transcripts
  3. Ancestry Images
  4. Architect of the Capitol Flickr
  5. Army
  6. BigFoto
  7. Biomedical Images from the National Library of Medicine
  8. Bureau of Land Management
  9. Cascades Volcano Observatory
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health
  11. Central Intelligence Agency Flickr
  12. Coast Guard
  13. CompFight
  14. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  15. Creative Commons Image Search
  16. Customs and Border Protection
  17. Death to the Stock Photo
  18. Defense and International Relations
  19. Defense Department
  20. Defense Intelligence Agency
  21. Defense Intelligence Agency Flickr
  22. Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System
  23. Defense Visual Information
  24. DefenseLink (click on Photos/Videos) 
  25. Department of Energy - Photo Galleries
  26. Department of Energy Flickr
  27. Department of the Treasury
  28. DoD Joint Combat Camera Center 
  29. DoD News Photos
  30. Earth as Art
  31. Energy Department's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  32. Energy Department's Energy Technology Visuals Collection
  33. Environment, Energy, and Agriculture
  34. EveryStockPhoto (choose Advanced Search to restrict licensing)
  35. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  36. Federal Emergency Management Agency Photo Library
  37. Federal Register Flickr
  38. Flags of the World 
  39. Flickr "U.S. Government Works" Search
  40. Flickr Commons
  41. Forestry Images
  42. Free Digital Photos
  43. Free Images
  44. Free Photos Bank
  45. Free Pik
  46. Free Range Stock
  47. FreeFoto (free for non-commercial use)
  48. FreeImages.com
  49. FreeMediaGoo
  50. Google Image Search (Licensed for Non-Commercial Re-Use)
  51. Government Publishing Office
  52. Gratisography
  53. Homeland Security
  54. IM Free
  55. ImageAfter
  56. ImageBase 
  57. ImageFree
  58. Images from the History of Public Health by the National Library of Medicine
  59. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  60. Kozzi 
  61. Library of Congress
  62. Life of Pix
  63. Maps (Site with many links to map sources) 
  64. Marines
  65. Money
  66. Morguefile
  67. MorgueFile - photo archive for creatives by creatives
  68. NASA – Great Images
  69. NASA Photos
  70. NASA's Earth Observatory
  71. National Agricultural Library's Special Collections
  72. National Archives Online Catalog
  73. National Cancer Institute
  74. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  75. National Cryptological Museum Photos Gallery (Facebook)
  76. National Defense University Govt Photo Links
  77. National Eye Institute images
  78. National Eye Institute's Photo, Image, and Video Catalog
  79. National Gallery of Art Images
  80. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
  81. National Guard
  82. National Human Genome Research Institute Photo Gallery
  83. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  84. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
  85. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
  86. National Institute of General Medical Sciences
  87. National Institute of Mental Health
  88. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Flickr
  89. National Institutes of Health
  90. National Institutes of Health Flickr
  91. National Institutes of Standards and Technology Laboratory Research
  92. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  93. National Park Service Flickr
  94. National Park Service Historic Photo Collection
  95. National Register of Historic Places Flickr
  96. National Science Foundation
  97. National Science Foundation Flickr
  98. National Security Agency Photo Gallery
  99. National Transportation Safety Board Flickr
  100. Navy
  101. New Old Stock
  102. NIH Image Bank
  103. NIH Photo Gallery
  104. NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Photo Library
  105. NOAA Ocean Explorer Media Gallery
  106. NOAA Ocean Service Photo Library
  107. NOAA's photo library
  108. Nothing but Black Helicopters
  109. Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  110. Office of the Director of National Intelligence Flickr
  111. Official Portrait of the President
  112. OpenPhoto
  113. Peace Corps Digital Library
  114. Penn State's Free Media Library
  115. Pexels
  116. PicFindr (mixture of CC, PD, GNU, etc)
  117. PicJumbo
  118. Pixabay
  119. Pond5 Public Domain Project
  120. Public Domain Pictures
  121. Public Health Image Library from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
  122. Public image free library
  123. Public Safety and Law
  124. Red Cross photo library
  125. Rgbstock
  126. Royalty Free Icons and Clipart Stock Images http://icons.mysitemyway.com/
  127. Satellite images 
  128. Secret Service
  129. Smithsonian Images
  130. Snapwire Snaps
  131. Start Up Stock Photos
  132. State Department
  133. State Photo and Multimedia Galleries
  134. StockSnap.io
  135. Stockvault
  136. SumAll
  137. Superfamous
  138. The National Archives
  139. The National Science Foundation’s Multimedia Gallery
  140. The Public Domain Project 
  141. The U.S. Army Field Band
  142. The White House Flickr
  143. U.S Navy Flickr
  144. U.S. Agency for International Development Flickr
  145. U.S. Air Force Flickr
  146. U.S. Army Flickr
  147. U.S. Army Women’s Museum
  148. U.S. Capitol Photos
  149. U.S. Department Defense
  150. U.S. Department of Agriculture Flickr
  151. U.S. Department of Agriculture Photo Gallery
  152. U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General
  153. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Flickr
  154. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Flickr
  155. U.S. Department of State Flickr
  156. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Flickr 
  157. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Flickr
  158. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  159. U.S. Geological Survey
  160. U.S. Marine Corps Flickr 
  161. U.S. Mint
  162. U.S. National Archives Flickr
  163. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Flickr
  164. United Launch Alliance
  165. United Nations News & Media (Photos)
  166. United States Antarctic Program
  167. United States Government Manual Covers
  168. Unsplash
  169. USA.gov - U.S. States Photo Galleries
  170. USA.gov Federal Agency Flickr 
  171. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Identification Technology Program
  172. USDA APHIS ITP Image Node at Bugwood
  173. USGS Multimedia Gallery
  174. Vecteezy
  175. Vector Scout
  176. WhoIsHostingThis - Free Stock Images
  177. White House Photo Gallery
  178. Wikimedia Commons
  179. World Flag Database 
  180. YouTheDesigner

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Public domain. Photo by congerdesign via Pixabay.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Review of Oh Mama Grill (Kosher Shwarma Review & Alert; Marketing Notes Included)


Recently this Israeli eatery opened in Rockville. 

Let's begin with the fact that the food is excellent. You'll pay a little bit, but you won't go home hungry or unsatisfied.

We happen to get the shwarma. (Food photos and reviews at Yelp; here is a helpful listing of all the kosher restaurants in the Washington, DC area.)

I visited the eatery several times. When it's not too crowded, the narrow space between the cash register and the wall is tolerable. One time there were a lot of people there, and the experience was uncomfortable for me.
Recently I took a trip to Israel, and was in Petach Tikva to change dollars to Israeli shekels. The crowding was noticeable and uncomfortable for me there as well. 

The Israelis did not seem to mind it, and pushed their way past me. This happened when I got on the public bus too.

Clearly, operating in a small busy space is not my comfort zone, and the employees at Oh Mama do not have that luxury either.

But as I say, I've been there several times, and they do not seem to mind. 

Sometimes when I go there, I can see them sitting together outside, and then when customers appear, they go back in.

There is some thought about the customer here. Most of the people behind the counter are facing a food preparation area when they work. So they wear T-shirts that say, "My Back Is To You, But My Heart Is With You."

Let's look at the menu board for a second. Do you know what any of this is? Can you read it quickly?

Neither can I. 
But it doesn't really matter whether you can read it or not. You can't see much of the food you're getting on your shwarma either. 

This is where the best aspect of the restaurant becomes clear. The eatery is run by Israelis, and Israelis are very generous people. 

When we go there, we just ask for our food and say "everything."

(Notice the tzedaka, or charity, box up front. Nice touch.)
I do not recommend that you order the food remotely. They have a couple of food delivery service stickers in the window. But I got a more generous portion when I personally stood there waiting for the food. 
Overall, if you're anywhere in the area and you like Middle Eastern food, you're going to be happy if you eat at Oh Mama Grill.

This is not a paid endorsement, by the way. None of my posts are, unless I tell you otherwise.


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Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photos by Dr. Blumenthal.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Why Is This House Worth $1,000,000 (Or More)?


Sometimes the brand is the neighborhood.

We were taking a walk today and saw these new homes under construction. 

The development is Grosvenor Heights, by Sandy Spring Builders. 



It’s kind of hard to tell from my photos but the houses have a quaint charm.

There were people sitting on the front steps of one home. I asked how much they cost.

More than a million dollars.


$1,000,000 plus.

“You’re kidding,” I breathed, looking at the unfinished front of one of them.

“Yup.”

I walked around the property and took more photos. It’s actually a beautiful area near the Grosvenor stop of the Red Line, in suburban Maryland near DC.

The homes toward the inside were actually my favorite. Those, I really loved, with the modern square look as well as the elevated porches.

This house was nice too. You’re literally getting the white picket fence.

So why would you pay a million dollars for a home in DC? And it isn’t even full brick, or stone?

It’s new, it’s modern, it’s in an exclusive zip code, and your kids will go to good schools.

For more information about the development, check out the builders’ website: http://grosvenorheights-ssb.com/
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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Photos by Dr. Blumenthal.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

DC Design House 2017 - Assorted Notes

If you just want to see the photos, go to the album
You can download them for free with attribution.

Today we visited the Washington DC Design House, where the area's top local designers pitch in their talents to create a model home for public viewing, with all the proceeds going to charity.

It was an opportunity to a) see the inside of a mansion b) take a lot of photos c) talk to actual designers about the work that they do.

Karen Snyder, of Interiors of Washington (pictured above) designed Area 14, the "Traveler's Retreat." She talked to me about her style, which is a mix of modern, traditional, and "transitional." I asked her what "transitional" means and she said it bridges the gap between the first two.

Basically, she does what the client wants.

Snyder designed the ottoman sitting in front of her. She told me all the details and to be honest with you, they went over my head. But the cost for two of them runs into the thousands, and I have to tell you, the piece really defined the room.

Melanie Hansen, of Margery Wedderburn Interiors, designed Area 2, the "Living Room." She was nice enough to let me take her picture and to talk about her designs. The photo is included because she personifies a strong personal brand. She seems professional, highly qualified, and practiced in the art of posing for the camera without seeming too artificial.


The most notable thing about the room she designed is the pink lollipop statue. Everyone was looking at it and talking about it, probably because it gives off a vaguely naughty air.


Designers seem very into how they found things. As an observer, I frankly tune that stuff out.

I was interested in this blue velour chair in Area 7, "The Study Royale." Lorna Gross, of Lorna Gross Interior Design (contact@lornagross.com), told me that the entire room was designed around this cheap-looking chair, which somehow also comes off as luxurious.

For me, it was the color that just totally popped. I couldn't look away from it.


Here is a look at Area 3, the "Dining Room." The design is by Susan M. Jamieson, at Bridget Beari Designs. 

This room is not so much my taste, but then again I'm not the target audience. I don't get invited to mansions very much...er, make that never.


On the other hand a well-designed bathroom (a.k.a. "powder room") is a thing of beauty. I loved the dark walls against the soothing light and spare white design of this one, by Mary Amons at Mary Amons Design.

Assistant Ryan M. Van Sickel was standing outside and nodded proudly when I asked if this design was his.


There were some interesting characters at this event. Designer Camille Saum, of Camille Saum Interior Design, dressed a bit eccentrically but if you're rich, I think this means that you're a genius.


I did have fun teasing the rich people. At the cafe they were selling these "sandwiches" at $6 for four. "So these aren't sliders, right?" I said to the attendant. "They're munchers."

She didn't think that was funny.


We didn't love the designers' taste in everything. Again, I think this must be a rich Washingtonian thing...the overall concept was "heavy."


But you have to consider that to these people, a garage sale means blazers that cost $172.


I'm throwing in this one from Meena Tharmaratnam at Ibhana Creations, even though I don't know the exact price, because she was very friendly to me.

Let me say that Area 10, "Modern Professional's Stylish Retreat" (which looks like a girl's bedroom) was a was a stunner. The designer, of Anthony Wilder Design/Build, had to wave them off with a stick. Just look at that stunning mini-couch with a Vogue on it.
Designers can sometimes have weird taste in art. Below is one of the pieces I saw. Not all people would appreciate it, but I totally loved it. It's from Area 9, "The Collector's Cabinet," designed by Josh Hildreth of Josh Hildreth Interiors.

Overall I would definitely recommend taking a visit to this secluded mansion in Potomac. It's all for a good cause. The show ends October 29, 2017.

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Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photos by me.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Simple Rule For Naming High-Tech Products

A Known Name Facilitates An Unknown Purchase

A relatively new academic paper, based on both experimental and field-based research, suggests that early adopters prefer existing brand names for cutting-edge products vs. new brand names for less innovative products.

Obviously, the choice of a name is part of a brand strategy and as the article notes, "choice of an appropriate branding strategy is a critical determinant of new product success."

The researchers note that their findings echo prior research suggesting that when it comes to buying a product they don't know, it is reassuring to find it wrapped in a name they are familiar with.

The issue at hand is whether existing brands should gamble their equity on a new high-technology offering, which may or may not be successful.

For Further Reading

Yann Truong, Richard R. Klink, Geoff Simmons, Amir Grinstein, Mark Palmer, Branding strategies for high-technology products: The effects of consumer and product innovativeness, In Journal of Business Research, Volume 70, 2017, Pages 85-91, ISSN 0148-2963, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.07.003.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296316304805)
Keywords: Innovation; Branding; Consumer innovativeness; Product innovativeness; High-technology products

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Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by qimono via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).

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